Man charged with murder says woman died in fall

A 26-year-old Quinhagak man charged with the murder of a 25-year-old village woman told troopers she died after she fell and hit her head on a board outside his home.

Harold Smith was arrested Monday and charged with first-degree murder and evidence tampering in the death of 25-year-old Lisa Johnson, a substitute teacher and mother.

The Anchorage Daily News reports a coroner concluded that the preliminary cause of death was asphyxiation due to strangulation.

Johnson’s body was found Feb. 3 under brush off a trail.

Charging documents say Smith told investigators Johnson visited him to buy marijuana and appeared intoxicated. He says he shoved her out his door and she fell.

He says he found her unresponsive and that he panicked and hid the body.

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